Why does being told ‘I’m doing well’ make me feel sad?

This is a genuine question! I saw my GP today and he mentioned he had seen my notes about me going into panic mode after being weighed. I told him it threw me completely for a day but I managed to pull it together and get back on track. He said it’s clear that I’m learning from the process and that I’m able to reformulate experiences with a recovery mindset now. He told me I’m doing well and that I will beat this as long as I stay motivated and engaged. 

I left the appointment feeling sad and anxious. I took the feelings on a run to get to make sense of them. I had a bath with them, lighting some candles and doing ‘self-care’ to get used to them. I ate dinner with them, even though they were telling me not to. I’m now in bed, but they are still there, looking at me, trying to bring me down. 

I’m worried about how bad being told I’m doing well makes me feel.

I’m worried I’ve become attached to my counsellor and GP and that if I get better I will miss them. Am I feeling sad about that inevitable loss? 

Is it ED twisting my thoughts telling me that doing better equates to being greedy and weak?

Am I angry that being told I’m doing well simplifies the torment I go through some days to make the ‘right’ (for life, not ED) decisions?

Why is it that being told I’m doing well makes me feels this way? Am I just being attention seeking? 

Is this ‘normal’? Does anyone else feel the same? I want to get better, I want to make progress, yet I don’t want to be told I’m doing well. What is up with that? 

Answers on a postcard…

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7 thoughts on “Why does being told ‘I’m doing well’ make me feel sad?

  1. Did anyone ever tell you you were “doing well” (or some other compliment) when you were little? If yes, what happened after that???
    [My mother punished me if I got a compliment, or felt happy. So now those things are hard for me to bear. …… I hope this is not what is happening to you.]
    I did not know if I should write this to you. I apologize if this was a mistake.
    I send you a postcard of something you would be happy to see. TS

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  2. That completely makes sense. My support worker yesterday told me I keep threatening to leave because I’m seeking assurance from staff and wanting them to tell me I’m too ill to leave and I need to hear I’m
    Sick enough to be here. When someone says I’m
    Doing well or done well I get a little pang. Like I’ve failed the anorexia as that doesn’t want me to do well. It’s a vicious circle

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  3. Omg I completely relate to your feelings xxx and taking them for a run and a bath are excellent self-care strategies and also favourites in my arsenal. I have no solutions but u face the same problems xx all I can say is try to be kind to yourself – it’s understandable and natural that you’d feel attached to your treatment team and a sign they’re good people too I’d think xxxx sending loads of solidarity and more hugs and sitting with you and respect as ever to you for your ability to shine the light of your awareness and ask these important and very relevant questions xxxx Em

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    1. Ps I meant to write – I have no solutions but I face the same problems – sorry! I’m typing on my wee phone with my giant fingers 😉

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  4. You have no idea how many times this topic comes up in iOP. I think it might almost be universal. I told my nutritionist to never tell me how my body comps are doing, good or bad. I do want to recover however when he would tell me my comps were looking bad, I’d feel good, relieved. If he told me they were doing good, meaning I was doing good, I felt like I failed. My very first traumatic memory, when I was 7, was one of alienation and abandonment, I expect that as soon as I start doing well, everyone will abandon me. I think I wrote about that in a recent post, not sure which one.

    You are not alone in this, not in the least.

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  5. For me, “doing well” was a) a sign that someone had noticed I’d put on weight which I could not bare and b) a sign that I would soon not need any help which was terrifying. I hate people saying I “look well” or saying anything based on how I look because it made me angry that they were making a judgement but didn’t have a clue how I was doing on the inside. I’ve fought with this because I’m awesome at covering up how I feel and therefore it’s not really the other person’s fault if they think I’m doing ok!

    It’s hard but eventually I hope it will cause you to say “yes, I am and it makes me feel good” but for now, it’s good to be honest about how it makes you feel. Great blog, thanks for sharing xx

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